Happy dogs on thursday, little friday and thankful thursday. Gretchen has a cute little post up over on the fur-girls’ blog. This has been a VERY hectic week in the woods, so I’m pulling out a draft I wrote months ago, because #1 and #3 couldn’t be more appropriate right now. And truly, I am very thankful for my four-legged personal trainers and my human girlfriends, one of whom recently pointed out that she’s proud of me for making my own health and fitness a top priority, even if it means I sacrifice a good hair day along the way.
Some of you know that I’ve had an ebb and flow relationship with exercise. I’ve been very active and not at all, but rarely anywhere in between. It’s that “everything in moderation” thing that trips me up.
After reading a post on Wardrobe Oxygen about exercise excuses, I realized I am basically a pro about skirting those excuses, so I thought I’d share how I overcame a few common hurdles. Please keep in mind that I’m NOT preaching to you or trying to force you into doing something you’re not comfortable doing, but I think a lot of us battle the same demons, and maybe someone out there needs to “hear” something written below…
- Time. Okay folks, you aren’t going to like this answer one bit. It’s a matter of priorities. Forget motivation, although I’m the first to admit that without it, you’re fighting an uphill battle. Forget FINDING time; most of our schedules are too tight and busy to begin with. You just have to suck it up and create a new habit. gMarie finds it easiest to spend some time with her Wii Fit in the mornings, while I find after work to be better. As Nike says, just do it.
- Budget/equipment. Yeah, Wii Fit makes it fun, even silly and easy, but if you can hobble around the grocery store or the mall, you can walk. Unless you have a bad back or other underlying problem, you don’t need to invest big bucks in fancy walking shoes until you’re logging a few miles. Just start out in something that doesn’t rub blisters, and then reward yourself with comfywalking shoes later. Yoga is also free; you can find videos free online even. Heck, I used to have a tough ol’ former Marine firefighter co-worker who ran in his steel-toed/shank, mid-calf duty boots, and often passed me on the track… and that was back when I was in the best shape of my life!!
- The whole sweat/being out in public/need to shower thing. That was my excuse for years, until Sissy proved that I CAN work/walk around it. Honestly folks… if I can risk a great hair day the afternoon I’m about to be recognized as the new president elect of the Junior League to walk my beasties, you can do a moderate, 30-minute walk and go back to your desk at work. As with #1… just get over it, even if it is hot and humid where you live and you sweat like a horse. I do too. Slap on a fresh layer of make-up, spritz with a clean scent, fluff the hair, take a deep breath, and know that your healthy radiance will overcome any lingering workout funk.
- Convenience. See above. Honestly, it’s convenient for me to workout about twice a month. I always have a meeting to go back into town for, or dinner out with the Knight, or I’ve had a bad day and I need to just BE. Sissy says HOGWASH! Walk me! And then that one eye blinks and she moos and Gretchen starts bouncing off the walls – or TMI moment here… off of ME while I’m trying to go potty – and I realize that our walks are as important to them as they are to me.
- Back to motivation. Sissy also has shown that giving in to a guilt trip can be the best exercise excuse buster there is. Have a little person in your life you want to see graduate, get married, etc.? Then get up and move so your heart will stay healthy. Have a nagging doctor? Gosh, I’m sorry, because mine is my friend and is totally supportive in a whole-health kind of way, but if nothing else, shut that nag up by getting fit. Have an event coming up? Fine. Put a photo of the slinky dress you want to wear in your bathroom mirror and march to it.
- Back to time… take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further away from everything. Do squats while you dry your hair. Every little bit helps. Another TMI moment, but I’ve been sucking my gut in every few seconds while typing this post. Strong abs offset a multitude of sins AND look great.
So, we walk every single day, ran or shine, unless there’s a severe storm warning or something equally dire. I also make time for yoga, Wii Fit and the elliptical trainer a few other times in the week.
If you’re still reading and don’t hate me, know that I too had to start back with baby steps. I won’t ever again be a runner or a power lifter, but I’m healthier than I’ve been since my back injury some 13 years ago. I had several false starts and epic fails along the way, but this time I had a one-eyed girl who reminds me “Today could be the last time I can see my neighborhood,” so we walk. Sometimes it’s only for a quick mile or so, but I found my motivation in Sissy’s glaucoma.
Of course, I’m not a doctor, so please see yours before you start anything new in the realm of fitness, diet or health. Likewise, check with your pet’s vet before trying to create your own furry personal trainer. Gretchen and most terriers are pretty sturdy, resiliant walking/running/hiking companions, but double-coated breeds (bassets!), breeds with “smooooshed” noses and most very small dogs simply aren’t up to human fitness walking.